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Thursday, September 4,2014

Book reviews: Notes from Neil

Getting Caught Up

by Neil Rajala
THURSDAY, SEPT. 4 — In the days when I was writing this newsletter from the Schuler store in downtown Grand Rapids, I used to include a weekly list of notable books that had just been released in paperback. I've heard from a few of you that you found that list useful, either to pick up a book you were interested in at a more affordable price, or because it made the title a more viable choice for your reading group. With that in mind, here are a dozen books on my "highly recommended" list that have seen a paperback release since I first wrote about them. Here's what we're reading:
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Vampire weeknight

Bestselling supernatural author sinks her teeth into the Big Apple, comes to Lansing

by Bill Castanier
There is sex. There are breakups. And there is a murder. Would you expect anything less from the vampires of the Blue Bloods Coven in Melissa de la Cruz’s new book, “Vampires of Manhattan”? The newest installment in her successful “Blue Bloods” novels finds the characters 10 years older and living a peaceful coexistence with humans.
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Monster season

2014-’15 Lansing theater goes from tap-dancing Frankenstein to fetish footwear

by Paul Wozniak
Like cars and clothes, the theater sees its fair share of retro. This year’s season of over 50 theater productions includes revivals of classic plays, fairy tales, book-to-stage, screen-to-stage adaptations and even one stage-to-screen production. Expect to see standards from playwrights like Chekhov, Shakespeare and Williams. But audiences looking for something new can expect multiple Michigan premieres, including at least three world premiere productions from local playwrights. And two appearances by Mary Shelley’s most famous creation prove you can’t keep a good monster down.
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Certified fresh

September Indie Film Series features top-rated offerings

by ALLAN I. ROSS
As daylight hours turn from free time back into school days, Studio C! in Okemos once again relinquishes one of its screens from the grip of summer spectacle — all those sentient apes, raccoons and mutant turtles — and focuses instead on indepen dent and art house fare. You know, where quality storytelling reigns over pyrotechnics and science fact trumps science fiction.
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

New in town

LOU & HARRY'S/JERSEY GIANT/CHANDLER TAP HOUSE

by Allan I. Ross
This year, downtown Lansing’s Washington Square lost two businesses with small but dedicated fan bases: Decker’s Coffee (aka Cup of Dessert) and Ted-Dee’s Sandwich Shop closed within months of each other — but those buildings didn’t stay empty for long. In July, the 21st location for the Lansingbased Jersey Giant sub shop opened in the former Decker’s location, and this week Lou & Harry’s took over Ted- Dee’s’ old digs.
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Attack the block

SATURDAY, SEPT. 6

by Jonathan Griffith
There’s no shortage of summertime art-themed events in the Lansing area. East Lansing has its Art Festival. Old Town has ScrapFest and the newly launched ArtFeast. So when it’s REO Town’s turn to host the party, the fourth annual Art Attack! festival, what can a member of...
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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Turn it down

A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica & Sarah Winterbutton
On Friday, City Pulse, The Impact 89FM and MSU’s Broad Art Museum will host the free, all-ages “End of the Summer” concert on the lawn of the museum. Cheap Girls, a local power-pop trio, plays its record release show at the second-year event. “The Broad show is kind of the first show of our fall plans,” said Ian Graham, singer/bassist for Cheap Girls. “Then we’ll be doing a few various shows regionally before heading out (on a national tour), then it’s back to Europe for a couple weeks.”
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Saturday, August 30,2014

Turn it down: Cheap Girls play free concert at Broad

Cheap Girls, DJ Ruckus, Hat Madder play free, outdoor show

by Rich Tupica
Get ready for the second annual End of Summer Concert, a free outdoor show hosted by City Pulse, The Impact 89FM and the Broad Art Museum on the campus of Michigan State University. The show’s headliner is Cheap Girls, a local group enjoying a little national acclaim. Other performers are DJ Ruckus and the Hat Madder, both fixtures in the Lansing music scene. The event which is on the lawn of the Broad Museum, is sponsored by Music Manor, Flat Black & Circular, Crunchy’s, Splash of Color and Goomba’s Pizza.
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Thursday, August 28,2014

Book reviews: Notes from Neil

New York, New York (and elsewhere)

by Neil Rajala
THURSDAY, AUG. 28 — I received an array of questions from one of this newsletter's readers last week about the book review process itself - how I got started, what the process is, how much and when I read, etc. Answering them was a good reminder for me how much I enjoy this, both the writing about what I've read and the responses from you I'm privileged to read every week. I've said it before, but thank you again for staying in touch and letting me know what you think. I'm truly grateful, and this would be a lot less fun without you. Here's what we're reading:
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Wednesday, August 27,2014

Painting the Oldsmobile

Lansing Art Gallery’s ‘backbone,’ Cathy Babcock, retires after 17 years

by Lawrence Cosentino
Championing art in Lansing is like painting an Oldsmobile. Ask Cathy Babcock. Last week, Babcock retired after 17 years with the Lansing Art Gallery, the last 15 as director. She led the gallery through three problematic locations, including a car dealership and a basement that rings with the clanging weights of an upstairs gym. Donor dollars all but dried up in the 2008 recession, but she wrote grants like a racehorse, kept the gallery going and never doubted that her gritty city has a big heart for art.
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